Kiwi scientists have finally been able to get up close to a volcanic eruption that's spawned a new island in Tonga.
Tongan navy personnel took a group of New Zealanders to within 700m of the ongoing eruption about 63km north of Nuku'alofa today.
The new volcano is throwing rocks a few hundred meters and sending steam to heights of several kilometres.
GNS volcanologist Nico Fournier says magma from the eruption is hitting sea water, producing explosions.
"That basically produces some explosions in a very similar way than if you were putting a bit of water on the fire."
The eruption has formed a new island, about 1km-wide and 2km-long, between the existing islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai.
It is no longer a risk of affecting aviation in the area, Tongan Government officials say.